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Friday, May 30, 2008

How Was It? Video from Sasquatch!

posted by on May 30 at 1:20 PM

Including an exclusive interview with Peter Buck of R.E.M...


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bruce Willis Rocks

posted by on May 27 at 4:28 PM

When I was growing up, my mom always had this tape in the car:

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For whatever reason, I mentioned that while driving to the Gorge this weekend and Eric Grandy then informed all of us that Bruce Willis also showcased his music talents in a wonderful 1986 wine cooler commercial.

Enjoy:

Sadly, Bruce Willis did not perform at Sasquatch.

Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter Got PWNED

posted by on May 27 at 4:23 PM

Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter, and Eugene Mirman were the last three comedians to perform in the Comedy Tent at this year's Sasquatch!, and while I was really looking forward to the Michaels closing out the weekend, it was Mirman FTW.

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The Michaels were lackluster. Showalter was "deathly ill." His set was moved back 45 minutes, he sat down for much of his performance, he looked tired, and he was sweating profusely under the hot lights. He was clearly sick. But he gave it an ol' college try, reading some old material from his laptop, including a list of music related thoughts that he published on Spin.com almost a month ago.

Best Band That Was Once Uncle Tupelo: Wilco

Worst Band That Was Once Uncle Tupelo: Sun Volt

Best Slow & Sleepy Fuck Music: Sade

Best Really Fast & Socially Conscious Fuck Music: Fugazi

He apologized for it not being the best show and the crowd still adored him anyway.

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Michael Ian Black was not sick, be he wasn't well. I've seen his stand up act quite a few times now, and he's just not as funny alone as he is with other people (Stella, for example). His sarcastic humor works best when he's using it to spar against others.

By the time he took the stage, the Flight of the Conchords had just wrapped up on the mainstage, and he used that opportunity to proclaim "I could be that famous too, if I had an accent." Then he told the story about how he met the FotC at the premier for his new movie Run, Fatboy, Run, and they sorta blew him off. He introduced himself to them, said he wrote the movie they just saw, and they were like "Oh." They could've said they liked the movie, but they didn't say that. Then he walked around the stage a little bit, pretending to be hurt.

The crowd laughed, he turned pouted, then he turned towards the mainstage and flipped them off. It was a little more bitter than funny, and definitely awkward. But whatever, Michael Ian Black loves awkward.

The rest of his performance, I can't remember, because it was pretty unmemorable. And I'm a big fan, I was trying really hard to like it. But maybe I was trying too hard. I dunno.

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Eugene Mirman, though, killed it. Brian Posehn is still my favorite for the weekend, but Mirman had a bunch of new material, and chatted with the crowd a lot of the time. It was a battle of wits at one point. He mentioned Ayn Rand and then a number of people watching had to prove they knew who she was by yelling out names of her books. He made fun of them, everyone laughed.

He had some new suggestions for those annoying pop-up polls on MySpace, he read aloud the letter he wrote to the gas company when they shut off his gas, he showed a video of his recent primary coverage (referring to the Liberty Bell: "It's cracked, like America's government."), and did a powerpoint presentation of some of the world's rarest animals (that he made up).

As he left the stage, he announced he'll probably be returning to Seattle in July. I can't wait.

Wilco Coming to... Spokane. With the Fleet Foxes!

posted by on May 27 at 3:30 PM

The only Washington show on Wilco's upcoming tour is in Spokane. Fleet Foxes open.

WHEN:
Thursday, August 21, 2008
8:00 PM Show time I 7:00 PM Doors

WHERE:
INB Performing Arts Center
W. 334 Spokane Falls :: Spokane, WA

TICKETS:
ON SALE FRIDAY MAY 30 at 10AM
$29.00 Reserved Tickets

Tickets are available through ticketswest.com.

Speaking of Fleet Foxes, this is what it looks like when they play the Mainstage at Sasquatch in front of tens of thousands of people who have no idea who they are (or think they're the National).

Show Me Your Tits, Part II

posted by on May 27 at 3:21 PM

Okay, I'm sorry for teasing you... here's some real live NSFW tits (and an ass so perfect I wish I could reach in the photo and smack it) AFTER THE JUMP!

Continue reading "Show Me Your Tits, Part II" »

The Flaming Lips at Sasquatch

posted by on May 27 at 2:25 PM

lips4.jpgPhoto by Sean Pecknold

lips1.jpgPhoto by Christopher Nelson

lips2.jpgPhoto by Christopher Nelson

lips3.jpgPhoto by Christopher Nelson

lips5.jpgPhoto by Sean Pecknold

This Is Some Really Heavy, World-Consuming Shit

posted by on May 27 at 2:19 PM

Nate Mooter (of Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground) eating a tequila worm.

That is all.

Also, what this video doesn't show is me smashing the bottle on the pavement outside the trailer to get the worm out. Seriously, this operation took like a half hour.

Both Sides of the Trip

posted by on May 27 at 2:06 PM

Monday:

Oh god I was hung over yesterday morning. I wandered around the sprawling campsites after the Cure on Sunday until dawn, drinking and accosting and being accosted by yellow shirt mongoloid rent-a-cops. When it came time for a third day of festival I needed a god damn nap in a bad way, so I staked a flat spot on the terraced part of the hill and dozed in the sun while the main stage plugged away though the morning lineup. This semi-conscious, recuperative state was how I experienced the Hives and the first half of Built to Spill. Few conclusions were drawn from the Hives set, mostly that their guitar tone sounded weak and sometimes out of tune, and that their bratty, cocky lead singer Howlin' Pelle Almqvist is a lot like a Swedish version of These Arms Are Snakes’ Steve Snere. Like Eric said before, Built to Spill were unsurprisingly awesome, playing lots of their long, jammy songs but mixing them up with shorter numbers as well. “Traces” was flawless, and any time they play “Big Dipper” I get heart happy. They were thoroughly enjoyable but fairly unexciting, and by the end of their set my hangover had subsided to the point where I no longer felt like flinging myself into the canyon.

Rodrigo y Gabrielaphoto by Christopher Nelson

I’d heard good things about Rodrigo y Gabriela but didn’t get a chance to see them at Bumbershoot last year. They were without a doubt the best act I saw on the main stage this year, blowing the minds of the entire audience with lighting fast acoustic flamenco/metal. If you’ve never heard, Gabriela plays actual rhythms with her flailing outstretched hand that sound like a drum set while Rodrigo absolutely shreds up and down the fret board. When Gabriela’s guitar broke, she walked off stage leaving Rodrigo to entertain the audience by ripping through Metallica and Jimi Hendrix riffs. His solos were so intense they caused the entire audience to explode in applause every couple minutes. As he stood on stage in front of a beautiful canyon, thousands of people in awe of his skill, I could just imagine him bellowing in triumph, “I am the greatest guitarist in the WORLD!” Respect.

Following that up with Battles, who is in my opinion pretty much the best live band in the world right now, was pretty incredible. Watching total bros lose their inhibitions and start dancing like hippies during “Atlas” was like a miniature “Hands Around the World.” It might have been how high I was, but I’m pretty sure I saw two Lost Boys walk past me and disappear into the dance pit with evil grins on their faces. Drummer John Stanier looked like he was going to pop a brain vein. I actually felt sorry for him, like, “Those guitarists are working that poor drummer to death! Somebody help him!” As remarkable as he is at being a high-speed human metronome, I can’t imagine playing like that every night would be very much fun.

The headliners of the night, Mars Volta and the Flaming Lips, are opposite sides of a mushroom trip. The Flaming Lips are the sheer joy of psychedelics, their set being the rainbow confetti cumshot perfect for concluding a long, drugged-out music weekend. The visuals were great, everybody sang and had fun, and it didn’t even matter that the Lips are still basically doing the same thing they’ve been doing for years now with but with more expensive props.

The Mars Volta are the other side of the hallucinogenic spectrum, the exhilarating, frightening, self-introspective part of the trip. They didn’t start with a song but rather an explosion, five straight minutes of guitar solo, drum fill and driving bass, while singer Cedric Bixler flung himself around stage, jumped off amps, and chucked a symbol and stand and a jumbotron camera into the audience. They played tracks from their albums, but each drifted into strange, evil improv jazz sessions. There were so many intricate parts fighting for attention that a lot of it was lost through the sound system - I found myself often straining to hear what certain members were playing. Their sound was loud and abrasive, and it drove people away in streams – there were definitely more people walking away from the Mars Volta than towards them. Then shit got really weird.

Mars Voltaphoto by Christopher Nelson

During “Goliath” they went into a long, discordant saxophone solo, then a back and forth of unpleasant noises between the sax and the guitar. There is no denying each member of the Volta is an incredible musician, and the dark, avant-jazz they’ve created is fascinating, but I found myself asking throughout the set, “This is definitely original, but is it good?” On the whole, yes. The sound they are experimenting with is often unpleasant, but it is also a step in a whole new direction following neither the path of rock, jazz, or prog music. They are a band focused on being musicians and pushing limits, not on writing hit songs. The reaction to them seemed a straight mix between pure respect and utter disgust. I overheard the people sitting behind me say their friend left during the set because she got scared. “Yeah, that band was scary,” her friend replied. Walking to the parking lot at the end of the night, someone yelled, “Who loves the Mars Volta?” There were scattered yeahs, followed by equal boos, and someone saying over and over, “Not so much, not so much.”

Sasquatch Outtakes

posted by on May 27 at 2:00 PM

Me and Kelly O were just trying to make video interviews, but weird things kept happening...

Scott of Throw Me the Statue

Tim Meadows and Jerry Minor

Eugene Mirman

I heard there were some acid sugar cubes floating around, but this just got ridiculous.

Back Tats I Saw at Sasquatch While Waiting for Built to Spill to Start

posted by on May 27 at 1:11 PM

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Day 3: Sasquatched

posted by on May 27 at 12:12 PM

Whew. I'm spent. I couldn't even make it through to the Flaming Lips. I feel destined to never see that band play live, although I really wanted to yesterday.

Say Hi were a pleasant surprise. I'm not always in the mood for Buffy-ready power pop ("This is a song about vampires," was the first thing I heard of their set), but Eric Elbogen was charming and fun and cute. He reminded me a little of Hefner and Figurine, although he doesn't really sound a lot like either of those bands. I know that's not terribly helpful, but my synapses may have been a little misconnected by this point in the weekend.

Built to Spill weren't surprising. They aren't really a surprising band at this point in their career. What they are is reliably awesome, and perfectly suited to the summer festival scene, equal parts oddly poppy and classically jammy. You cannot fuck with songs like "Dystopian Dream Girl," "Big Dipper," and "Nowhere Nothing Fuckup," whose closing refrain of "In America / every puddle / a gasoline rainbow" seemed especially poignant. At one point, the Jumbotron caught Doug Martsch, mid instrumental solo, playing guitar, eyes closed, beads of sweat on his brow, just looking totally beatific. I overheard some guy say of them, "They're no Hives, but that was good."

The most giddy, satisfying set of the day (maybe the whole fest) came from Battles on Monday evening. To borrow from a friend: The band really does speak their own language, both in terms of incomprehensible elf vocals and in terms of their tightly shifting fourth dimensional instrumental rock; for much of their set, they seemed content just speaking to each other even if it went over everyone else’s heads. But the epic, unfurling “Tonto” and the mad, marching stomp of “Atlas” were understandable and crowd-pleasing enough, inspiring wordless sing-alongs and swirling pockets of dancing. The only intelligible words: a loop of the word “Battles” on the opening song, and the minimal between song banter of, “Oh boy, Sasquatch.”

conchords1.jpgFlight of the Conchords photo by Christopher Nelson

From up on the hill, Flight of the Conchords were all but drowned out by Kinski rocking the neighboring Yeti Stage. (Can't someone from Sub Pop sort this stuff out?) Battles conflicted with most of the Conchords' set, but I managed to get there just in time to hear them announce, "We're a Christian band. It's not just me and Jemaine up here. It's me and Jemaine and Jesus." Then they played a hilarious, brilliant (like all their songs) number about angels "doing it" in heaven that included lines about how "no one knows what goes on under those robes" and angels "making it rain." Making it rain! Jesus, that is one funny motherfucking band.

Futurist soul crooner Jamie Lidell was the last set for which I still had any stamina, but when the late set finally started it was worth it. Lidell, sporting vertically striped pants and a gold jacket, played with a full backing band—drummer, keyboardist, guitarist, and a berobed, Jesus-y looking figure playing two saxophones plus some kind of vocoder flute. The first two songs were pretty straight live numbers, and they made Lidell's soul singer schtick seem more serious than ever, although, I suppose it's always been simultaneously serious and silly. Lidell is for real; he's also a funny motherfucking freak.

Lidell-1-sm_Piper-Carr.jpgphoto by Piper Carr

For "When I Come Back Around" and "Little Bit More" Lidell worked the live sampling/looping/beatboxing/scatting magic that made his Bumbershoot set two years ago such a revelation. This time though, instead of just sampling himself, Lidell had his whole band to work off of, stealing loops from different instruments and remixing/effecting them on the fly, pointing what looked like a super-8 camera prop at the source to be sampled, like some kind of music-sucking ray gun. His banter is, of course, great. He asked the crowd who had heard the new record, who had paid for it, who had downloaded it for free (saying, "music is free; you know that"), replying to each round of applause with a genial, adorably British-accented, "Sweet as candy." He asked the crowd to picture a piano keyboard, full of notes, and think of a note, any note, then, on the count of three, hold that note. He described the result as "some kind of amazing chord," noting that a crowd in Holland hadn't been able to come together quite so harmoniously, possibly due to phlegm. They played the new single, "Little Bit of Feel Good," and it really did sound sweet as candy.


Monday, May 26, 2008

The Weirdest Thing at Sasquatch

posted by on May 26 at 8:57 PM

On the ground outside the main entrance to the comedy tent just before Reggie Watts' mid-afternoon Sunday performance: a pair of discarded latex gloves. On the floor inside the comedy tent directly after Reggie Watts' performance: a used condom.

Further, unrelated (?) weirdness during Reggie's set: a man wearing only a pair of hibiscus-print board shorts who knelt in front of a low-lying air conditioning unit and played ecstatic air guitar, his long curly blond hair flowing back in the artificial wind. He was sunburned and sweaty; no one's ever been happier to locate an air conditioner. He was silent (as befits air guitar) except for one sudden, wordless bellow.

As for Reggie, he's achieving the kind of escape trajectory from the conventions of comedy that is rare. He's absurd and foul and fantastical and compelling; what he does feels like a crucial form of entertainment that he alone has struck upon and he alone is capable of. (Guitar is not involved.) The woman in front of me who kept turning to her guy-person to look pointedly appalled during Reggie's song about a shit-fuck stack only made it funnier (as did the guy's refusal to do anything but look highly amused). Note to the guy: Break up with her now. If she cannot grasp the genius of Reggie Watts, she's only going to drag you down.

reggiewatts.jpgMr. Watts onstage at Sasquatch (photo by Victoria Lahti)

Overheard at Sasquatch

posted by on May 26 at 6:30 PM

Some random things I heard people saying at ole' Sassy...

"I just interviewed Robin Pecknold and all my questions were too sarcastic. He's a really nice guy. Probably too nice."

fleetfoxes_pipercar06Fleet Foxes photo by Piper Carr

"We came all the way out here for The Scholars and Cancer Rise. They both killed it. You know, I really don't give a sh*t about the rest of this."

Sunday-1

cancer.jpgBlue Scholars photo by Christopher Nelson / Cancer Rising by Sean Pecknold

QUESTION: "Is the dude from The Presidents related to Michael Stipe?"

presidents_pipercarr04The Presidents of the United States of America photo by Piper Carr

ANSWER: No. (But he may be related to the dude from The Cure?")

"Can you buy this band at Urban Outfitters?"

roguewave_pipercarr01Rogue Wave photo by Piper Carr

"THAT was the only band I even danced to..."

Trucka3_Kelly OTruckasaurus photo by Kelly O

"C'mon. Don't go watch The Kooks, let's go back to the tent and get mushrooms."

kooks_pipercarr02The Kooks photo by Piper Carr

"Wait a minute, is that Mike Patton? How many f*cking bands is that guy in?"

CrudoCrudo photo by Christopher Nelson

"I'm actually excited to see Modest Mouse. There, are you happy? I said it."

modest.jpgphoto by Christopher Nelson

"I give up. I tried three different spots, and still couldn't see M.I.A. She's really short and I think she's wearing all black."

MIAphoto by Christopher Nelson

"I'm telling you these guys are gonna be huge."

Dyme DefDyme Def photo by Sean Pecknold

"Ben Gibbard has a giant head now. GIANT."

Death cabDeath Cab for Cutie photo by Sean Pecknold

"The Cure is the only reason we came. We've been out in the car playing cards all day because the rest of today's lineup kinda sucked."

Cure1_Kelly OThe Cure photo by Kelly O

Show Me Your Tits!

posted by on May 26 at 6:20 PM

Does this happen at Coachella, Red Rocks, Bonnaroo too?

Photos after the jump...

Continue reading "Show Me Your Tits!" »

The Cure... for What?

posted by on May 26 at 4:45 PM

Grandy says the Cure "played forever" and are "exhausting" (true) and Seling says the Cure was boring (also true), but none of these points quite get to it. It's not that the audience becomes bored with the Cure; it's that the Cure is so clearly bored with being the Cure. As decked out as they were, they seemed barely conscious. They seemed animatronic. While I was watching them, not very far away, I developed the theory that, since these stage personas were so thin and wasted and junked up with costumes and makeup, they can't be real--they can't really be in this much need of a hug. These are fake personas. These are cardboard cutouts. Their true personalities have probably evolved very far from these presented personas, possibly in the entirely opposite direction. Possibly they are people who, when they are not dressed as the Cure, like to horseback ride and have knitting parties and make pizza from scratch.

That, or... um, the Cure? You need to cheer the fuck up. Seriously. Cheer the fuck up. It's been 30 years. The world has been good to you.

Day 3: the Moondoggies, the Hives

posted by on May 26 at 3:17 PM

Whoever wrote in our Sasquatch guide that the Moondoggies "might be the perfect festival band" sure wasn't far off the mark (I think it may have been Megan). Out on the grassy lawn, gorge looming, daylit, behind them, sky blue with a few fluffy clouds, the Moondoggies made more sense than I think they ever could in a Seattle bar. They sounded clear and breezy, rhodes and organ backing rootsy guitar and relaxed rhythm, vocal harmonies hanging there in the air. They had at least one major fan in one twirling girl in a red dress, who danced through their whole set; she kind of stole the show. The band should consider bringing her on for tambourine or something.

hives2.jpgHives photo by Christopher Nelson

The Hives are exactly the same as always, like a cartoon of a rock band fronted by the most adorable accent since Perfect Strangers. Either Brendan effectively shamed the band or else the Flaming Lips' dormant UFO lighting rig hanging over the stage takes precedence (likely the latter), but the Hives did not have their giant neon sign today. Or maybe they just know how sunshine overpowers neon. In any case, the Hives' banter is remains their most entertaining feature—sorry about all the banter here, but it's been some good stuff; the comedy tent has some competition for its inaugural year. At one point, the singer suggested a petition for the Hives to get paid more money, since they work harder than other bands, jumping around instead of just playing some acoustic guitar. Then he decided, "Fuck it, let's just play some more rock'n'roll." Then: "Since we are from Sweden and you are from America, we are going to communicate with you using the oldest language known to man—the drums. Right now, the drums are telling you to jump up and down like this. I am translating them to English for you." Later, he talked up the band's work ethic some more: "I'm the Energizer bunny, I could do this all night. Except there are other bands playing..." At first, their songs sounded more raw and screamy than I remembered, but soon the band busted out some poppier, groovier numbers and it seemed more like the cute little garage band I recall from that (International) Noise Conspiracy tour forever ago. "Didn't they just play this song," my friend asked at one point. Basically, yeah.

hives1.jpgHives photo by Christopher Nelson

Owning the Main Stage

posted by on May 26 at 1:44 PM

Death CabPhoto by Sean Pecknold

All the teenagers sitting around me on the hill sang along to the Death Cab singles. As someone who used to see Death Cab when I was in high school, back when they were playing the old Paradox and the like, it's still a bit baffling to see them adored by such a massive crowd. When they played Sasquatch! a few years ago their songs didn't seem to translate well from small club to amphitheater - their star seemed to be rising faster than their sound could keep up. The material off Narrow Stairs, as well as the few older cuts they've kept in their set, have no such problems anymore. "Long Division" was written to be performed in front of thousands, the intro jam to "I Will Possess Your Heart" builds a great tension that isn't released until the final bridge. I didn't want to hear their old songs - the context wouldn't be right anymore in a setting like the Gorge. Opposite of when the Cure was playing, all I wanted to hear was their new material. Death Cab is a stadium band now, a festival band, and sometime between last time they played the Gorge they figured out how to own the attention of a huge crowd.

Lava Pit

posted by on May 26 at 1:05 PM

I got an unsolicited message from the Cactus Man this morning, and I'd like to share it with all of you.

Can I have a room in my mansion with a lava pit. I would say " hey, would you guys like to see my lava pit?" .. and you would think of me beautiful.. and uniquely eccentric. and outside I will have a lava heated tropical lagoon.. people will say "hey, jake is having another one of his sexy parties." and all over the world beautiful models, and young people of world power.. we will come and converse on world affairs.. and drink and do drugs.. and radiate with young sexual energy.. so good to touch.. so good to taste.. well then confess i do.. i am one of the young lustful leaders..for the knowledge of the world and the way it turns.. has molded us into vampires of intense dangerous pleasures.. oh, wow.. did you ever imagine this is what it would be like.. or is it even better then that. dancing through the night to old, old beats. with a Venezuelan princess.. see watch me my dear.. watch the way my hips swing.. and wave your arms through the air as if you were flying through the night.. and touch all of the stars.. don't miss any of them.. take my hand.. follow me.. lets run.. her laugh is almost as beautiful as these eyes.. she giggles like a little girl i knew a long time ago.. we stop and share a brief moment of warm silence.. and she kisses me softly, and takes my heart with a smile.. " oh.." i say.. "would you like to see my lava pit?" and then i take her heart away.. because i am beautiful.. and uniquely eccentric.......................

Fair enough Cactus Man, fair enough.

The Travelocity Gnome Was Dancing to Dyme Def

posted by on May 26 at 1:00 PM

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He seemed to really like them.

Day 2: the Cops, Malkmus, & the Cure

posted by on May 26 at 12:57 PM

thecops1.jpgThe Cops photo by Christopher Nelson

Like Truckasauras before them, the Cops were some funny, quite probably drunk motherfuckers. A high point of their banter: singer Mickael Jaworski's rant about how, "There's something called the cost of living," and how "all the corporations of America [should] keep up." He changed his mind a second later, saying, "Fuck the corporations. Everyone should grow their hair out long, smoke a lot of pot, and join a rock'n'roll band."

thecops2.jpgThe Cops photo by Christopher Nelson

I don't think I've seen the Cops since they added a fifth member, but it seems to be working out pretty well for them, the extra guitar making their simple, straight-ahead garage rock sound pretty damn big, Hives-like almost. The added guitar also allowed Jaworski to ditch his for a few songs and hop into the crowd to instigate some pogo-ing. Also like the Truck, they seemed to prove themselves pretty well to the afternoon crowd at the little Yeti stage.

malkmus1.jpgPhoto by Sean Pecknold

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, predictably, also had some pretty snappy quips, which included talking shit on the Kooks for taking too long ("Us, as tidy Americans took 15 minutes."), shouting out Kennewick and its famous Man, and then talking about how this was the nicest weather he'd ever seen at Sasquatch, although, he said, "I wasn't here yesterday, though. I heard that yesterday it was raining sideways...crooked rain." Groan.

As a big, late-to-the-wake Pavement fan, the Jicks are kind of a mixed bag for me. Malkmus and his band are clearly way into the classic rock thing, unabashedly so, jamming out and noodling and busting out big stadium riffs and all that shit. They do it well, of course, and, especially at a big outdoor festival, it makes sense. But what kills me is that, it's like there's little two-minute Pavement songs hidden inside their big, fried eight-minute guitar jams, and when Malkmus drops some odd couplet in a softer moment, it really does make me a little longing.

cure1.jpgPhoto by Christopher Nelson

The Cure. Wow. Where to begin? The guitar player's utilikilt? His spiked leather boots? His weird, white bald head making him look like one of those dudes from Dark City? I know as soon as I start making fun of how goths dress, I'm basically a jock, but man, it is an aesthetic that doesn't age quite as well as others. Let's just say that.*

cureskirt.jpgPhoto by Sean Pecknold

Watching the Cure, in comparison to REM the night before, really made me realize how differently the two bands have aged. REM, couple of sleepy albums aside, has successfully kept on growing and creating as a band in a way that the Cure just hasn't. REM in 2008, as they say, "has legs." The Cure, on the other hand, seem like the best they could do would be to perfectly replicate the Cure circa mid '80s, and it seems like that's what would probably make most of their fans the happiest, too. I wonder if a lot of that has to do with their essential attitudes, REM being a little more sly and post-modern and a little less sincerely (new) romantic. I also wondered if Smith's melancholy songs of loss and longing make more sense now that dude's old, if the parts that always seemed melodramatic might be any less so now; I think they're still plenty melodramatic.

All of which is secondary to the fact that the Cure's great, old hits are fucking amazing. "Pictures of You" was just impossible dreamy, lights sparkling like raining glitter behind the band, purple and pink lights flooding the amphitheater. And every other song, I realized that, even as something of a "Greatest Hits" Cure fan, I recognize a hell of a lot of Cure songs. Turns out they've been playing ambiently throughout my whole life. Everything sounded perfect, even if there wasn't as much action—on stage or on the video screens, which were all soft-focus (with no close ups of Smith) and slow, overlapping fades. After the first hour or so, the cold and the hydration were catching up with me, and I had to give up my sweet seat, but the Cure kept on playing for about another 8 hours. Seriously. They just played forever. It was exhausting.

smithclose.jpgPhoto by Christopher Nelson

*Actually, let's not just say that. Let's also say the Robert Smith has also not aged so well. One friend and I argued about whether he looked more like Dina Martina or Jackie Hell, agreeing that he definitely looked like "some old drag queen." Another friend thought he looked a little waterlogged. I wanted to ask, "Hey, Robert Smith, why the long, bloated face?" Sorry. I feel terrible.

Brian Posehn Hates Belle & Sebastian and So Do I

posted by on May 26 at 12:55 PM

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Brian Posehn opened his Sunday evening performance with my favorite quote of the weekend (so far). For his show, the comedy tent was packed to full capacity, despite the Kooks performing nearby, to which he said:

"How do you compete with the pretty-boy British faggotry of the Kooks? Giant retard, that's how."

The hilarious, self-deprecating comic was referring to himself as the giant retard, of course. All through his 45-minute stand-up routine the biggest laughs came when he made fun of his appearance (which is an obvious punchline, admit it). He compared himself to a sasquatch, said he was born with a "rape-y" face, he gave us the visual of him running naked in a baby mask, with his dick tucked between his legs and swinging around a sword, and he also described himself as a bunch of farts bundled together and wearing a man suit. Then he walked, heavy legged, across the stage making fart noises with his mouth.

Comedy never sounds as funny on paper (or blog), but it was fucking hilarious, I promise you.

To fit with the music theme of the weekend, he also shared some of his thoughts on current bands: he hates Belle & Sebastian and Nickleback, but he loves Slayer and was stoked to see the Cure later that night (I wonder if he thought they were as boring as I did?). He's a self-proclaimed metalhead, and that pleased the crowd of folks gathered in the comedy tent, avoiding stuff like the Kooks.

Today the comedy tent will continue to be the big highlight of my weekend--this afternoon Eugene Mirman, Michael Showalter, and Michael Ian Black all perform.

Huzzah!


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Good Music, Good Memories

posted by on May 25 at 8:03 PM

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Beers of the World

posted by on May 25 at 6:15 PM

The world here at Sasquatch is composed of Canada (Molson), Mexico (Modelo Especial), the Netherlands (Heineken), and Colorado (Coors and Coors Light). Beers of the World at the stand of the same name cost $12 (foreign) and $11 (domestic) for 24 ounces; the people of the world don't seem to mind at all. Most popular: the tiny and indisputably cute keg–shaped cans of Heineken. A young woman serving the Beers of the World seemed to be in an exceptionally good humor, despite being far less than halfway through a 13-hour shift. She denied drinking on the job (Aramark would frown on that).

In other news: A torrential downpour cannot harm the integrity of an elephant ear consumed at a moderate pace.

"I Can't Fucking Believe We're Here!"

posted by on May 25 at 5:30 PM

Truckasauras's afternoon show today: So many swears!

trucka1.jpgPhoto by Kelly O

As great as it is to see big-name, out of town acts at Sasquatch, it's also a blast to see scrappy locals proving themselves to the sun-burned, beer-soaked festival masses. Truckasauras typically bring a much more live show than most electronic acts, rocking the American flag cape, pounding booze, and most of all playing to videographer Dan Bordon's '80s cheese visuals. Turns out daylight kind of kills Bordon's projections–next year: mainstage, dual jumbotron—but the band made up for it by bringing an extended entourageof friends and family up on stage with them to run hype, throw out shirts and cds, and help polish off a big bottle of Maker's Mark at one in the afternoon. "There's my little brother," said Adam Swan between songs—his little brother, by the way, had the stage presence of a white Biggie Smalls, believe—"He got in for free!"

"Sorry, this is just too crazy for us," said Adam Swan between songs. "We're playing at the fucking Gorge! And look at all of you, you guys fucking rock!" It was a sentiment Swan repeated between almost every song.

The sound was clear and heavy, bassy and beeping and bad-ass. The band was clearly getting a lot of mileage out of their newly acquired Korg MS-20 synthesizer, dropping squelchy-filtered acid bass lines deep, deep synth tones. And the fair-sized crowd seemed pretty into it. Video game inspired electro can be a hard sell at a big, outdoor music festival on a Sunday afternoon, but the Truck was pulling it off. And the joke juice wasn't hurting either.

"I know there's a lot of dudes out there," Swan, again. "But if we see some titties, you're gonna get a shirt." (They got rid of two shirts.)

They also gave a lot of shout outs to the weather, along the lines of, "Give it up for the sun!"

For all the goofy debauchery and impeccable sound, the set kind of dragged toward the end, as the band seemed to settle into some mellower numbers. But still, Truckasauras done good. Seriously, next year: Jumbotrons!

Dance Lessons

posted by on May 25 at 4:59 PM

As Megan mentioned, Cancer Rising slayed the Yeti stage earlier this afternoon. They brought with them "the future of Northwest breakdancing," Them Team. Here is a taste of the flavor that made the crowd lose their shit:

The Burden of Stipe

posted by on May 25 at 4:57 PM

I win the official Sucker of the Day award!

While all these Stranger motherfuckers have been wasting brain power on pontificating The Burden of Stipe, I've been sitting in the Sasquatch press tent fixing wireless routers. What the shit is that!? Four hours ago, I putting band-aids on my face to stop evil spirits from leaking out, and now I'm the fucking computer nerd fixer guy?


sharing Stipe's load


Anywho, I was ready to give up on this whole having fun thing until I saw Truckasauras this afternoon. Following Friday's used bin jamdown, it was an honest relief to witness skittery drum machine claps and a few goofy dudes passing around Maker's Mark on stage. No posing or dance moves to be seen, just... good music, good memories*.


* as said by Frizzelle re: R.E.M., but also potentially about Truckasauras

Mumblecore

posted by on May 25 at 4:55 PM

Following up on Jeff Kirby's Modest Mouse recap, the one bit of Isaac Brock's banter I remember from their set:

"Mumblemumblemumble had a shirt I was gonna wear mumblemumblemumble bullshit mumblemumble bullshit!"

Verbatim.

A-Whoooooo Oooh

posted by on May 25 at 2:45 PM

The Breedersphoto by Christopher Nelson

The Breeders! Holy fucking shit! They sounded amazing, all soft slowcore strumming bursting into brilliantly messy distortion. I don't think it's the mushrooms talking when I say that "Cannonball" was high point of the day. Hell, the whole set was an unexpected peak—I need to spend some more time with the Breeders' discography when I get home. But "Cannonball" in particular was just nasty as hell, the chorus all delayed distortion, vocal fuzz, guitars careening almost out of whack. Most impressive was how easily the band shifted from composed quiet to massive aural assault—I know, I know, loud/quiet/loud. Whatever. It still kills.

Call Me Ishmael

posted by on May 25 at 2:44 PM

New favorite hobby at Sasquatch this year: lying about your name.

The first dissembler of the weekend was a young man—who appeared to be on mushrooms—begging at the front gate for a free ticket. Somebody in the crowd happened to have one and, in exchange, wanted to know some facts about the young man's life. He said he was a college student, studying business. ("Mostly sustainability," he hastily added, obviously thinking business was a gauche line of study.)

Then he was asked his name. "Burn," he lied. "Really?" somebody asked. He said it was, but you could see the lie in his eyes.

The second dissembler stumbled around backstage while Modest Mouse played, handing out flyers to some event nobody seemed to care about. He stood against a chain-link fence overlooking the gorge, and stared balefully into a plastic cup that used to contain beer.

"This place is beautiful," he mumbled, flinging his arm gorge-wards.

Main Stage

"I work at Coachella every year, but fuck Coachella, this place is beautiful. And I'm drunk."

He said he lived in L.A. ("right in the 'hood"), but maintained that people in Seattle are superior to people in his hometown. "People in Seattle are just, yo—whassup?!" he said, pumping his fist laterally.

"Do you know the Professor and Justice, from Rebelz?" he asked. I said I didn't. "They're just like, yo—whassup."

I asked his name. "Pancho Villa," he lied and shambled off for another cup of beer.

RE: REM

posted by on May 25 at 2:37 PM

Fair enough, Mr. Frizzelle, fair enough.

A couple additional thoughts: I don't give a shit about the critical consensus. I was 14 in '94, and I thought Monster was the shit. I liked REM's older singles at the time, but for whatever reason, at 14, I didn't see Monster as the abominable galm rock youth grab that everyone seems to agree it was. All of which is to say that, when the band launched into "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?" as their second song, I was genuinely and unexpectedly pumped. It wasn't the high point of their set, not hardly, but it sounded fucking awesome. Just before their set, as fairweather REM fans fled in the rain, that nothing was going to get between me and "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?" I had been half-joking; I totally didn't think they'd play it, let alone as their second song.

Secondly, Stipe has a little bit of a Being John Malkovich thing going on, and it occurs to me that Stipe is an insanely actorly performer. At this point, after so many years, it's like he's playing Michael Stipe in REM. Every facial expression is practiced yet comfortable. When he dramatically takes off his shoes, hold them aloft, and then lets them drop, you think, "Well, yeah, of course."

Two bits of banter: One, Stipe asks how many Canadians are here, how many Americans are here, how many people are voting for Obama, and then—such a long setup—says he wishes Canadians could vote. They can. In Canada. Also: Stipe is a Democrat?! Get the fuck out! Two, Stipe trains the whole crowd to shout, "I told you so!" "What happens if I fall down?" "I TOLD YOU SO!" Was that a dig at Banana Peel Buck or what?

Catching Up on Day One: M.I.A.

posted by on May 25 at 2:24 PM

I missed Beirut, the band I was most looking forward to seeing at Sasquatch. We left Seattle later than we should've, we stopped for food, and, finally, checking into our campsite was a clusterfuck of well-meaning but poorly coordinated event staff—we had to wait in a massive line of cars to get misdirected twice and then finally sent back to the front of the line from whence we'd came. Whatever. The weekend goes on, (although it goes on without a stable internet connection until about an hour ago; hopefully you're all outside this weekend anyway).

MIAphoto by Christopher Nelson

Also high on my list of acts to catch: M.I.A. Maya Arulpragasam and crew did not disappoint. Seeing a sea of kids, hands up, guns out for "World Town" was pretty impressive. Massive. Seeing them all form guns for the gunshot blast beats was just absurd. There was some serious airhorn action happening onstage.

"Soundman turn me up out there. We're gonna pretend we're at Glastonbury, 1992, and everybody's on ecstacy." Into "XR2."

Her backup dancers were decked out in red and yellow, the girl with a bright red bob wig, looking a little like Ronald McDonald clowns; appropriately, her awesome guy backup dancer was practically krumping.

Watched some red faced, cussing, blond and tousle-haired teen get wrestled and pinned by a handful of security guards—it may have been during "Pull Up the People," or I might just be remembering it that way.

For "Sunshower," the video screens played a super cute video of Arulpragasam. cut and pasted into a pixelated jungle background, cooly banging on a drum kit in clipped little video loops. During one point, she shouted, "Africa! Sasquatch!" Non sequiter globalism for real.

For "$20," she sat on a speaker to deliver the stoned, stretched opening verse. "Bucky Done Gun" featured an extended horn and gunshot intro.

There was a kid with a too fresh NKOTB hat—hot pink on black and signed by all the boys.

Two guys in big, furry bird suits—one penguin, one parrot—went a little nuts for "Birdflu," pogoing in their plush gear to the chicken scratch beat. They started literally pulling up the people, then, filling the stage, at first with a few brave kids and hippies, but soon with a massive mob, with Arulpragasam and her backup at the fore, just at the lip of the stage, a push of people behind them. A girl was dancing on the amp where Maya had been a song or two ago.

"Where are you," Arulpragasam called out to her hype girl at one point.
"I'm right here!"

They played the massive jam, "Boys," and then asked the crowd to leave the stage.
"Exit the stage now. Thanks for partying with us."

Low Bee started playing "Galang" as the crowd walked off. A puff of smoke rose from near the DJ table. One kid did "the worm" offstage; he may be the coolest kids I saw all day.

"If you got any kind of light—cameras, phones, lighters—hold them up."

"Paper Planes," as expected, sounded awesome, all it was missing was sunshine instead of overcast sky. On the video screen, Arulpragasam was wielding a guitar as a gun, pixelated blasts coming out it's head, then she was surfing on a neon paper plane, past Mario Bros clouds, occasionally still shooting or drumming. That Clash riff is fucking bottomless.

R.E.M. Opens for "Awesome"

posted by on May 25 at 2:00 PM

The first thing that happened was Peter Buck fell. R.E.M. was walking out onto the stage, the surface of it slick with rain water, Michael Stipe looking all Michael Stipe-y, and Buck just ate it. Whooop! And then stood immediately back up, so that by the time I looked up I'd missed it.

"So dude just slipped?" said someone next to me, trying to come to grips with what he'd just seen.

His friend, who also saw it, nodded and added, "Like an old, irrelevant man."

Harsh! They were great! They were R.E.M.! Nevertheless, a conversation ensued about the enduring-ness of R.E.M., the "relevance" of R.E.M., and someone who was very stoned predicted that R.E.M. was going to be big. "R.E.M. has legs," he kept saying.

rem_pipercarr02.gif

After "Drive," which Stipe sang with everything in his being, sang the hell out of, Stipe against the world, Stipe against time itself--tick... TOCK... tick... TOCK--the guy next to me (OK, Brandon Ivers) said, under his breath, "Fair enough, Mr. Stipe. Fair enough."

The next morning--this morning--"Awesome" came out on stage (the mainstage!) in yellow polo shits (context: event security is wearing yellow polos--they looked like the Sasquatch Security Staff Band) and thanked R.E.M. "for opening for us" and apologized for "the 12-hour delay." Then they played a fantastic, weird, musical-y, set in front of what looked like a very elaborate cloud background but was, actually, real clouds. Then it started raining and Evan Mosher, on trumpet, explained that the rain was a digital effect they were controlling. They did "Telephone," their best song. Among the people seen losing their shit, dancing in the rain, were Sarah Rudinoff, Michael Place, and a bunch of people in green-plastic festival-issued refugee-camp-grade ponchos.

The Best Part About This Year's Sasquatch...

posted by on May 25 at 1:51 PM

Music is great, sure, but I'm so glad they've added a comedy tent to Sasquatch.

ucb1.jpg

Yesterday evening, the tent wrapped up with a performance of Upright Citizens Brigade's infamous improv project Assscat. It was so hilarious, given that it was being performed in a tent next to a stage that had music blasting louder than the performers most of the time.

The line-up was Matt Besser, Matt Walsh, Horatio Sanz, Tim Meadows, Jerry Minor, Rich Fulcher, Sean Conroy, and almost Rainn Wilson. Wilson was there to watch the show from the side of the stage, and Tim Meadows tried to get him to join them, but he got all shy and declined.

Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.

ucb2.jpg

Before the improv started, they needed some ammo, so Tim Meadows pulled up a few random (and a weird) people from the audience and asked them to tell stories about their weekends so far. One girl talked about her friend sitting in someone else's shit. The same girl also talked about getting gum stuck between her buttcheeks. One kid wore a lot of bandannas (and got made fun of for it) and told the story about getting pulled over on the way to the Gorge.

I'll post another video or two in a bit... Right now I have to go see Blue Scholars.

"Are We On the Jumbotron?"

posted by on May 25 at 1:13 PM

Yes, Robin Pecknold, you're on the Jumbotron.

fleetfoxesphoto.jpg

(The National were running late--apparently their bus broke down on the way, they played later in the evening--so our little Fleet Foxes played a second surprise set on the Sasquatch! Mainstage.)

Sasquatch Saturday: Vince Mira Almost Caused a Riot

posted by on May 25 at 1:04 PM

vincemira.jpg

When I got to the Yeti Stage the Roy Kay Trio were playing to an indifferent crowd. With the sun beaming down, dozens and dozens sat on the lawn in front of the stage, eating pizza, drinking out of mini Heineken cans. After a handful of songs, the band introduced Vince Mira. A baby-faced 15 year-old with a high and tight pomp strapped a guitar over his beaded country button-up. He smiled and coyly said hello. He sounded just like any other boy who couldn't legally drive. The crowd remained indifferent.

Then he strummed his guitar and started to sing—a booming deep voice leaped from out of his gut. Even thought I expected it, it was still unbelievable. A woman sprung up, his voice scared her off her ass. Another shouted out a shocked “WHAT!?” Then everyone stood up, surged towards the stage and started dancing. Vince Mira sounds just like an adult Johnny Cash. Everyone pulled out their cameras, friends looked at each other with wide eyes and dropped jaws.

They loved his Johnny Cash covers best, but his originals were strong too. He brought out Jimmy Berg of the Bad Things to play accordion on one. While the Roy Kay Trio continued to back him, everyone cheered and danced. They were far from indifferent.

Here’s a video. It’s not the best sound quality, but you can at least tell I’m not making it up. This voice on this boy just doesn't make sense. It's awesome.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Worn Out: Sasquatch

posted by on May 24 at 12:51 PM

Some hot fashion at the Gorge so far:

Kyle & Jory

Most excited to see: Presidents of the USA, Beirut

Lindsay

Most excited to see: M.I.A.

Reginald

Most excited to see: The seventh band that plays

Nick & Anthony

Most excited to see: Beirut & David Bazan

Polly & Cy

Most excited to see: The National

It Begins

posted by on May 24 at 11:03 AM

Woke up to SUNNY skies here at the Gorge this morning.

The fuck-yeah-factor is high.

As we were setting up our tent the Breeders were doing their own sound check. You'd think they'd have people, right? Anyhow, they played "Cannon Ball" to a private audience of me and Kelly O. I'm super happy already. It seemed rude to get close, sorry the pic sucks.

Tons more shit to come, doors opened just now.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Line Out vs. Sasquatch!

posted by on May 23 at 3:14 PM

sasquatchcover.jpg

If you're stuck in Seattle this weekend, wishing you were catching the Cure, M.I.A., or the Upright Citizens Brigade (or if you're going to one or two of the three days and you wanna see what you're getting yourself into) be sure to visit Line Out for our complete festival coverage.

Starting tomorrow afternoon, this blog will be blowin' up (kids still say that, right?) with reports from the Gorge--rain or shine. We'll have exclusive photos, as many music reviews as half a dozen writers can muster, and a bunch of other great stuff (for instance, I plan on stalking Eugene Mirman all weekend... not really... okay, maybe... we'll see).

And if you are going to Sasquatch, come visit The Stranger booth--we'll have and endless supply of our Sasquatch guides and other goodies (my goodies, not my goodies).

(For the complete guide to all performers, schedules, maps, and more, visit the Stranger's Official Sasquatch! Guide)

"Few Showers"

posted by on May 23 at 11:00 AM

So says meteorological oracle weather.com about Sunday in George, Washington (home of the Gorge). This is how it begins. Come Sunday, I fully expect to be knee deep in mud and hail in what will look like a third world refuge camp (only full of white people). Pray, Zeus, stay your thunderbolts.

weathercheck.jpg


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Don't Toy With Me Weather.com

posted by on May 20 at 11:38 AM

Those thunder showers that weather.com predicted yesterday, for Monday at Sasquatch, are now off the 10-day forecast.

Keep your fingers crossed that it stays that way.